Pronoun Antecedent Agreement

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement

What is Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement?

A pronoun is a word (he, she, it, they) that takes the place of a noun. An antecedent is the word the pronoun refers to or replaces. In a sentence, the antecedent comes before the pronoun. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in person, number, and gender.

Common Rules To Follow For Agreement:

  1. Two singular objects connected by and require a plural pronoun.
    Ex: Julie and Mike have chosen their costumes for the party.
  2. Words such as both, several, and many are plural and require plural pronouns.
    Ex: Both of my cats ate their food.
  3. The following words, when used as subjects, are always singular and must have singular pronouns:
    Ex: Either of the boys will loan you his book.
    Ex: Each of the girls brought her sleeping bag.
  4. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent, not with the object of a prepositional phrase.
    Ex: One of the boys kicked his book.
  5. Company names always require singular pronouns.
    Ex: MacFrugal’s will soon have all of its spring clothes on sale.
  6. Two singular subjects connected by the conjunction or require a singular pronoun.
    Ex: Gloria or Lisa has promised to lend me her bike.
  7. If one of the subjects joined by or or nor is singular and the other plural, the pronoun agrees with the closer word.
    Ex: Either the dog or the cats lost their tray.
    Ex: Neither the cats nor the dog lost its toy.
  8. Collective nouns (army, class, family) take a singular pronoun when the noun refers to the group as a whole and a plural pronoun when the noun refers to the individual members of the group.
    Ex of unit: The band marched its most intricate formation.
    Ex of individual: The band found their seats in the bleachers.

A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in person, number, and gender.

Page last updated June 26, 2023.